This week as I close the final chapter of Steven Schussler’s It’s a Jungle in There, I am reminded of the daily work of my teams. In my health system, I have the privilege of leading three great teams. Two of whom are directly related to this week’s reading: Volunteer Engagement Team and our Rathbun Hospitality House. In Schussler’s final two chapters he speaks about social responsibility and philanthropy, a primary part of my weekly work life.
This week the HR team that I lead hosted about 90 team members from across our health system for a “great place to work and practice” retreat. The retreat was amazing, but that’s not the story I’m telling today. About thirty minutes before the retreat I received a text from the Senior Vice President to whom I report (my boss’s boss) saying that our CEO, who happened to be our first guest speaker of the day, was bringing a “Giant Santa” to give to my team at the Rathbun House. After the CEO spoke and interacted with team members at the retreat, one of my team members walked with him to his car and transferred the nearly 5-foot elvish beast into my VW wagon. Our CEO, sent this lovely creature to our Rathbun House because he knew it would bring great joy to those who enter Rathbun during the holiday season.
You see, Rathbun is a refuge in the woods, just a little over a mile from the hospital where families in medical crisis, who travel from outside our home county, can stay up to 21 days free of charge (with the proper care management referral). Our Hospitality house is funded through philanthropic dollars and primarily staffed with volunteers.
The Santa was sent to bring a smile to the faces of those who come through the doors. To our guests who are often fatigued, fragile, or frightened. A volunteer who had been decorating the window boxes and hanging wreathes walked in and said, “wow, we are big-time now, that looks like something that would be in a resort.” By the time I left for the day, volunteers, staff, and guests were having their pictures made with the happy new Santa. And the most impressive thing to everyone was that the CEO of our 12,000-employee company had remembered our department when acquiring such a cheerful gift.
I am privileged that my daily work can very quickly be linked to a more significant purpose: The health, healing, and care of those that we serve. For companies or individuals who can’t make such an immediate connection, volunteerism and philanthropy are fantastic ways to stay connected to a larger purpose and to develop corporate communities (see #14 of the linked article). Additionally, Coppy Holzman, a writer for Forbes and Entrepreneur says there are four big ways your company can benefit from giving back:
- Builds respect & reputation in the community
- Makes the community a better place
- Employees respect leaders who give-back
- Make connections; build network
And when you, your team, or your company decide to give-back through your time or dollars, look no further than your own community.
“No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of another.”
-Charles Dickens (p.197)